Because Labor Day falls on one of my usual days off (Monday), I’ve been given a rare Friday reprieve this week. How should I spend my newly-found Friday freedom? Here’s an idea:
In baseball’s latest “could only happen in 2020” feat, MLB has loaded its Friday itinerary with a whopping 20 games including five doubleheaders. In a wrinkle not often seen, three of the teams participating in twin bills Friday—the Blue Jays, Reds and Tigers—will serve as the nominal home team for at least one of their scheduled games. We saw a similar occurrence last week when the Mets scored a walk-off victory over Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees despite the game taking place at Yankee Stadium. Per new rules, all doubleheaders will conclude after seven innings (barring a tie, obviously), a slight reduction on the industry standard of nine.
Saturday won’t be quite as jam-packed as its Friday predecessor, though there are still 17 games on the marquee including double-dips in both Oakland and Houston. Between the league’s rash of COVID outbreaks and a wet summer that has prompted an unusually high number of rainouts, MLB’s schedule has been an utter catastrophe, seemingly since Opening Day.
The Cardinals, who have arguably been hit hardest by MLB’s recent string of postponements (an organization-wide COVID scare kept them out of commission for 17 days), will make up for lost time by squeezing 34 games including seven doubleheaders into an exhausting 27-day span to close out their 2020 slate. After Thursday’s breather, they’ll have just one more off day before their regular season wraps up on September 27 against Milwaukee.
With football returning, baseball doubleheaders galore and a slew of other events on tap including Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the much-anticipated US Open at Winged Foot and a pair of tennis majors (not to mention the NBA and NHL Finals), September is the month sports-obsessed couch potatoes have been waiting for their entire lives. Friday’s 20-game MLB marathon won’t be the main course, but it’s a hell of an appetizer.